WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has launched a pilot program to evaluate how Earth science data from commercial small-satellite constellations could supplement observations from the agency’s fleet of orbiting Earth science missions. On Sept. 28, the agency awarded sole-source contracts to acquire test data sets from three private sector organizations.
AUKLAND, January 11, 2018 (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab, a US aerospace company with operations in New Zealand, will open a nine-day launch window from Saturday January 20, 2018 (NZDT) to carry out the company’s second test launch of the Electron rocket. During this time a four-hour launch window will open daily from 2:30 p.m. NZDT.
The International Astronautical Congress has been going on all week down in Adelaide, Australia. In addition to Elon Musk’s presentation on Friday and some news I’ve already posted here, there have been a few updates on various programs.
Boeing CST-100 Starliner. Boeing is aiming for a test flight of the CST-100 Starliner to the International Space Station in the third quarter of 2018. However, the first crewed test flight could slip from the fourth quarter of 2018 into the first quarter of 2019. Link
Rocket Lab. The company’s next test launch will carry will two Dove Cubesats from Planet and a pair of Lemur CubeSsats from Spire Global. The satellite will allow Rocket Lab to test deploying spacecraft from the second stage of its Electron rocket. The launch is planned for several weeks from now. Link
Long March 5. The failure of a Long March 5 booster in July will delay the launch of China’s Chang’e-5 lunar sample return mission, which had been scheduled for November. The Chang’e-4 mission, which will land on the far side of the moon, also will be delayed. That flight had been scheduled for late next year. The accident investigation is ongoing. Link
Today, astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly are visiting the White House to talk to the President about developing innovative new space technologies. One critical area for technology development is making satellites more affordable, adaptable, and adept at providing the sorts of real-time information that will help advance knowledge out in space and on Earth.
SEATTLE, June 21, 2016 (Spaceflight PR) – Spaceflight, the leading provider of integrated launch services for small satellites, today announced it has successfully launched a flock of 12 Planet Dove satellites from India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The 12 spacecraft are shoebox-sized satellites that will be delivered into lower Earth orbit to provide imaging data.
The asteroid mining company Planetary Resources is launching its first test satellite aboard a SpaceX Dragon resupply ship today. The Arkyd 3 Reflight (A3R) satellite will test out technologies for the company’s future spacecraft. It will be launched from the International Space Station at a later date.
The first Arkyd test satellite was lost when Orbital Sciences’ Antares launch vehicle exploded shortly after liftoff in October. The spacecraft was aboard a Cygnus resupply ship headed for the space station.
Planet Labs is sending up 14 more of its Dove remote sensing spacecraft aboard the mission. They are being launched as secondary payloads.
SEATTLE (Spaceflight Inc. PR) – Spaceflight Inc. and NanoRacks announced today that an additional 28 Planet Labs Dove CubeSats are en route to the International Space Station on the Orbital Sciences Cygnus Orb-2 Mission. The satellites were manifest via the NanoRacks Space Act Agreement with NASA, and are scheduled for deployment using the self-funded NanoRacks’ CubeSat Deployers manufactured by Quad-M Inc.
The successful Antares launch to the International Space Station (ISS) today was great news for Planet Labs. The Cygnus freighter that will berth with the station on Wednesday contains 28 of the company’s Dove imaging satellites, which will be deployed from the orbiting laboratory over the next month.
Their successful deployment will bring the number of Planet Lab satellites in orbit to 71. To date, 48 Dove spacecraft have been deployed from ISS and by Antares, Dnepr and Soyuz launch vehicles.
The Dove satellites are part of a class of miniature satellites known as CubeSats. These small satellites will capture imagery of Earth for use in humanitarian, environmental and commercial applications. Data collected by the Flock 1 constellation will be universally accessible to anyone who wishes to use it.
SEATTLE (Spaceflight Inc. PR) -– Spaceflight Inc., the company reinventing the model for launching small satellites into space, announces that it has successfully deployed 11 Planet Labs Dove earth-imaging spacecraft from an International Space Company (ISC) Kosmotras-operated Dnepr launch vehicle.
“SmallSat constellations are a critical, growing piece of the space economy,” said Curt Blake, president of Spaceflight. “We are thrilled to expand our launch heritage with Planet Labs and ISC Kosmotras to enable the cost-effective and timely launch of small satellites.”
Two Planet Labs satellites — Dove 3 and Dove 4 — were sent aboard a Ukrainian-Russian Dnepr in the second record-breaking launch of the week.
The American start-up company’s two Earth imaging satellites were among 32 spacecraft successfully deployed into orbit. This breaks the record of 29 satellites launched by a U.S. Air Force Minotaur I rocket on Tuesday evening.